It was a familiar story: A white police officer claimed that he felt threatened, that a black man wrestled with him for his weapon and that he had to shoot him in order to protect himself. But new video showing North Charleston, S.C., Police Officer Michael T. Slager, 33, shooting Walter L. Scott, 50, in the back as he fled turned Slager’s claim of self-defense into a murder charge.
Slager was arrested for murder after video acquired by the Post and Courier showed Slager grappling with Scott after shooting him with his Taser. The stun gun then seems to fall to the ground in the tussle. As Scott runs away from Slager, the officer draws his gun and fires eight times, shooting the fleeing Scott in the back. The video then shows Slager ordering the dying man, who has fallen to the ground, to put his hands behind his back before he handcuffs him. Slager then walks back to where the Taser apparently fell, picks it up and plants it next to Scott’s lifeless body.
The shooting happened Saturday after Scott ran from a traffic stop. It directly contradicts the statement Slager made about the shooting in which he claimed that Scott took his Taser from him after a tussle.
According to a statement released by the Department of Justice, FBI investigators are also looking into the case, working with South Carolina’s attorney general to investigate the possibility of any civil rights violations in the shooting death. North Charleston’s mayor, Keith Summey, called Slager’s actions a “bad decision,” saying, “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”